Introduction This article discusses some of the defi and opfi lending and borrowing services that I have tested and evaluated. It is not intended to be an exhaustive list, since there are so many products and services in the defi space, and is rapidly growing. There are different degrees of decentralisation, and transparency, but all of them make good use of smart contracts. Most of the dapps are running on the etherium platform, since they are the most mature of the smart contract platforms. But there are new ones being developed on platforms like EOS, IOST and other blockchains. This list is summarised, and I will probably drill down into more detail in future articles, and cover other related topics. If you are holding onto your coins like I do, there is really no good reason not to invest them, by staking or lending them out. You can decide to use variable rates which are determined by the market and fluctuate, or lock them in with fixed rates if you prefer (ex. 30 days, 60 days etc.). Also stable coins are a good way to hedge your risk against volatility, and the rates are much better than the traditional banks and trust companies (ex. 10-14% vs. 2%)
Variable interest rate systems (Pooling model which doesn't require order matching) Celsius (https://celsius.network) This is a centralised, but transparent lending/borrowing platform. They use a custodial service called Bitgo which is regulated in the US, audited and insured. The good news is that you don't have to manage, and worry about the private keys. They support the major crypto currencies for lending and borrowing. Rates are listed on the main web site page and in the app, which runs on mobile only. The interest is paid out regularly once a week in kind (same as the lending coin) or in CEL tokens which gives better rates for loyalty. Your choice. The system is extremely easy to use, and the team is very good, as well as the support. It is led by Alex Machinsky who was one of the early pioneers of VOIP (voice over IP). After taking down the telecom giants, he is now after the big banks who he feels have been taking advantage, and are ripe for disruption, with MOIP (money over IP) There are many useful statistics on the app, like transactions, total interest earned, and you can also follow the growth of the community, with assets under management and total loans. They give back 80% of revenue on borrowing to the community in the form of interest to lenders, and the rest is for expenses like salaries etc. Their goal is to bring millions of new people into crypto, and they have grown very rapidly in the first year. They are very active on social media, and Alex speaks at many conferences all over the world. They have pledged to make more and more information available about their funds and how they are being invested and distributed to the community. Nexo is a similar service to celsius, but not as big, and I had some technical problems (which were eventually resolved) but that is why I didnt cover it here. As far as I am concerned Celsius network is "Best of Breed".
Compound V2/Zerion (https://compound.finance / https://zerion.io/en This is a very good decentralised service, and all the data is made available thru API, so it is very transparent. Version 2 made a lot of improvements. Other defi services can connect to the lending platform, and Zerion has taken advantage of this. Zerion has swapping, and margin trading as well as lending thru Compound. All the transactions are made directly from your wallet, and you control the private keys.They also support a few stable coins. You can check your balances inside the app, or across apps by using defitracker.io. You can also check current interest rates for lending and borrowing by using loanscan.io. Interest is calculated and compounded on every block. It is paid out in Cdai, or Ceth depending on the coin invested.
Nuo (https://nuo.network) Nuo is a similar decentralised lending/borrowing service but supports more coins, and usually good rates. But they don't support swapping/exchanging for one coin to another, so you have to use Uniswap for that. You can also check the lowest rates for coin swapping by using dex.ag.
REX (https://eosrex.io) The Resource exchange is for staking EOS on their blockchain. You are staking unused resource capacity like RAM, CPU and network bandwidth, so that others can lease them (such as Dapp providers) at a reasonable fee.The lending rates are pretty low for now, but this may increase over time depending on market demands. Its quite easy to use, and there are a number of front-ends that can be employed. The one that I am using is at EOSauthority.
Fixed interest rate systems (P2P model with order matching) Dharma (https://www.dharma.io) If you are looking for fixed interest rates for a fixed time period (3o days for example), then this is the best service to use, But you have to create an order, and wait for it to be matched. This is supposed to take about 24-48 hours, and you won't earn interest until the order is accepted. The service is decentralised, and works with smart contracts which have been audited.
Cred (https://uphold.com/en/apps/app/credearn) This is also a fixed rate for a fixed period, but the service is centralized. It was announced that Binance will be partnering with them to provide lending to their exchange customers. It also integrates with uphold, for other crypto banking services.
Cobo bitgrow contracts (cobo.com) These are fixed rate for fixed term contracts directly from the cobo wallet. https://medium.com/@cobo_official/cobos-bitgrow-grow-your-crypto-in-the-bearish-market-651bb8223497 I covered other functions of the cobo wallet for staking in my previous article, on Publish0x, or here on Kauro.io
Chintai for EOS tokens https://chintai.io The new version 2 is supposed to be coming out any day now, and should offer some interesting improvements to this P2P order matching system for EOS leasing. The new platform has its own token called CHEX.
I didn't cover all the services, since there are just too many, and new ones appearing all the time. So, I only chose the ones to talk about that I like the best . For example, I didn't cover Maker DAO since it is only for borrowing, and is more complicated since you have to make sure that your loan doesn't get liquidated, since there is a penalty, and the stability fee is very high now (19%). I believe that you are better off using the services mentioned above for lending.
All the etherium based systems use Metamask, and the EOS ones use Scatter. So, you will have to get familiar with those apps if you want to use these services, with the exception of Celsius, which is the easiest to use (once you pass the identity verification process). I have tested all of these services and they all worked well for me. But that doesn't guarantee that you might not come across a bug. Most of the systems have technical support on telegram or discord, and some by email or phone. The more centralised systems tend to be the most responsive but not always. The user interfaces are pretty good, and the systems are always improving, and adding features. In my opinion, this area of crypto is the best reason for the institutional investors to get serious. Even though there are better rates, there are always risks involved. In my opinion, the missing link right now is insurance for things like hacking smart contracts, for example. I am currently following a couple of projects that plan to offer this service, but they aren't quite there yet. I plan to test and evaluate them as soon as they are ready for prime time. In any case, its good to put your money to work for you while you are waiting for the big gain